My journey started with my own health issues, which no medical doctor I consulted was able to help or correct. I was told I was just going to have to “live with” constant digestive issues, weekly debilitating migraines, continuous recurring sinus infections, weight gain, and constant fatigue at the age of 25!
I was on a mission to help myself and eventually discovered that changes to diet and lifestyle had huge impacts on my own level of wellness. This huge learning lesson sent me on a path to become a licensed Naturopathic Doctor.
After 9 years of postsecondary education, including an honours bachelor of science in biomedical science, a masters in human biology and nutrition, and a 4 year diploma in naturopathic medicine, I set off on my adventure where I set up shop in a tiny, isolated community off the north coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, and eventually to Kitimat, in North-West British Columbia.
Given where I was located, access to health food stores and supplements was limited, which forced me to focus on other aspects of health and wellness, particularly diet and lifestyle. This experience confirmed to me that what you put in your body and your lifestyle habits can truly affect the function of your hormonal and immune systems, biochemical processes, levels of inflammation, and even your emotions.
When I moved from British Columbia to Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec 6 years later, I discovered the laws surrounding the practice naturopathic medicine were entirely different. Quebec is an unregulated province, which means I don’t have the same rights to do and say things that I was able to as a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in British Columbia, right down to my title. In Quebec, I must say I am a naturopath, not a Naturopathic Doctor.
Having already had a strong focus on diet and lifestyle during my 6 years of practice in BC, I decided to further focus on this avenue, focusing primarily on dietary consulting and life coaching.
I realized as my experience grew with patients and clients, that there are key elements to diet and lifestyle that are commonly weak. People show up in my office frequently recounting issues such as digestive troubles, bloating, pain, weight gain, fatigue, stress, mental fog and poor concentration, among others. I know from personal and clinical experience that these issues can be distracting and burdensome, making it difficult to be present in life.
Both in BC and in Quebec, I have seen countless people who have tried a variety of approaches in attempts to alleviate discomfort: medications, diets, endless supplements suggested from health food stores, magazine articles, friends and the internet, and usually more medications, all to no avail. What they were trying wasn’t working for them, and they were ready to try something new; they were ready for a change. When they showed up in my office and implemented the dietary and lifestyle strategies I taught them, they started to discover the relief they were looking for.
Lifestyle habits can play an equally important role in your level of wellness. Lifestyle practices include sleep, light exposure, movement, exercise and stress management, as well as your prioritization of self-care. Imbalances in any of these areas can negatively impact how your body functions as a complete system.
Just like taking care of your car – keeping your gas tank filled with good quality fuel, regularly maintaining the body, engine and all of its components, it is important to do the same for yourself; to keep your body, mind, and spirit functioning at its peak performance.
Just as a poorly cared-for automobile can break down, rust out, and display poor performance, so can you.
“Just as a poorly cared-for automobile can break down, rust out, and display poor performance, so can you.”
When I graduated from Naturopathic College, I swore upon an oath of 6 principles of Naturopathic Medicine. They are:
1 The Healing Power of Nature: Trust in the body’s inherent wisdom to heal itself.
2 Identify the Root Causes: Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
3 First Do No Harm: Use the most natural, least invasive and least toxic therapies.
4 Doctor as Teacher: Educate patients on the steps to achieving and maintaining wellness.
5 Treat the Whole Person: View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
6 Prevention: Focus on overall wellness and disease prevention.
Included in this list is “doctor as teacher”. Although I can no longer officially call myself a doctor in my current province of residence, I am still a teacher. Part of my job as a teacher is to educate you about your body. When you understand what is happening in your body, why it is occurring, how this impacts all other dimensions of your system, and what can be done to adjust things accordingly, then you feel better informed to make the decisions for yourself that can steer you in the right direction.
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”